Thursday, October 23, 2008

Urban Fiction Appearing in Libraries

The New York Times reports on urban fiction, a "fast-growing genre ... developed by, for and about people in southeast Queens and other mostly black neighborhoods that have struggled with drugs, crime and economic stagnation." Until recently, these books were self-published and only available from street vendors. Recently, however, many public libraries--particularly those located in urban areas--have started urban fiction collections in "a case of culture bubbling from the bottom up."

Along with increased circulation, urban fiction is facing increased controversy. Some argue the genre's "street language, graphic sex and violence — not to mention covers featuring scantily clad models, often brandishing weapons" has the effect of perpetuating negative stereotypes. Others argue the genre attracts new readers who will, over time, expand their literary interests to other genres.

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